Web Zap*Germs Archive

December 28, 2005

Migrating Birds Not Spreading Bird Flu, Say Researchers

H5N1 bird flu likely not spread by migrating snowgeese
It appears that avian flu is being spread more by shipments of domestic chickens, ducks, etc. than by wild ducks and geese. Outbreaks earlier in 2005 strongly suggested that wild birds were carrying the H5N1 flu from Asia as they migrated. The timing and location of outbreaks in western China, Russia, Romania, Turkey and Croatia seemed to implicate migrating wild birds.

There have only been a few outbreaks in the last few months, however, and H5N1 has not been seen along migratory routes in Western Europe and the Nile delta. This makes researchers think that the virus is best spread among domestic poultry, rather than wild birds -- at least for now.

For those coming late to the party, USA Today has a good overview of the issues surrounding avian flu's "wait-and-see" pandemic potential.


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